The Labor Department Inspector General is conducting an audit of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) following the circulation of a NPR and Mine Safety and Health News series. The series “reported failure of federal regulators to collect nearly $70 million in overdue safety fines. Most are two to 10 years late; some go back decades.”

In addition to breaking down the number of delinquent mine owners violations, the series found that the injury rate was 50% higher at delinquent mines compared to rates at mines that pay their fines. The problem seems to be that “MSHA officials seemed unable or unwilling to collect fines when mine owners refused to pay, even as violations, injuries, and fatalities continued.” The inspector general reported that the series “was very informative” as they begin the audit.

Read more at NPR